INSPIRATION

I was just reading another artist’s blog where she referred to a post about what inspires her. So she inspired me to reflect on that same question and share it with you.

As I think about it, I realize that anything and everything can be a source of inspiration for me. This has increased as I am further immersed in my life as an artist.

I am inspired by nature- the colors of flowers, leaves and grasses, the variation of colors in a Stoney rock face, the greys and lavenders and flaming orange of a sunset. IMG_3566

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But likewise, the city fires me up. The shapes and geometry of the buildings & streets, the color of the light and reflection.

The people themselves inspire me with their varied attires’ colors, the fashion styling, as well as the shapes in their faces and bodies.

Plus, since I love painting animals, my travel abroad has given me much inspiration.

I guess what I mean is that after all these years of being an artist, I see with artists’ eyes. My perception turns all elements of the world to colors, forms and contrasts. I see things as a kind of tableaux, all parts fitting together in a grand puzzle. Each piece is perfectly fitted to the next, diagramed precisely to contrast or complement each adjacent unit. By perceiving the world in this way, all things become inspiration. How one color sits next to another, the way a shape stands out in uniqueness or repetition, these are things that motivate me. When something surprises or blends, calms or excites, evokes a feeling from me, that is something that I will seek to emulate in my art.

So you see, it is very difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is that inspires me, because it is everything in the internal and external world. But it really is not a difficult thing to do. It is all just a matter of paying attention…and taking a lot of photos. ;0)

What is it that inspires you?

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WORKING FOR LIKES

I’ve gotten very active on Instagram these days. Perhaps you seen my posts.

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My instagram feed. instagram.com/artistkarenfriedland

I share a lot of my work as a process because it gives me a way to let folks into the inner workings of what I do and how a painting gets to be finished work of art. I’ve noticed a very strange, to me, phenomenon when I do that. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Instagram, one posts a picture of anything, as well as leaving a caption or remarks about it. It’s possible for a viewer to leave a comment responding to the post but more frequently, people double tap on the image and that indicates”like” it with a heart.Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 5.19.10 PM
The thing that is puzzling to me is that I frequently get more likes on an image in the very early stages than I do as the painting becomes more resolved.

And when the painting is complete and I posted it, I feel like I have to really work to get signs of approval, the likes.

I think this is because people respond to the freeness and intuitive nature of my paintings with the first pass of color. Like me, they respond from the gut, the colors and shapes and how they have put themselves together. For this stage, I work very loosely and hardly thinking consciously about what I’m doing. I just select colors and lay them down with a variety of tools, and in whatever forms might meet my fancy at the moment. It is frequently fairly random.

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A first layer of color.

I think the response to the early phase is a visceral  one. It too is just a reaction to the stimuli. At that point in time, the painting is filled with possibilities and opportunities and you don’t need to be an artist to see and feel them. But as the painting progresses and I make more and more conscious decisions on the direction of the painting, I am narrowing my options and also those of my viewer. This is my job. It is required that I do this in order to complete the painting. However, my choices may not be just what my viewer may have chosen. There are many moments where it does not look its best. And just like you, at those times I do not like the painting nearly as much as I did at the start when it was filled with possibility. As in any projects of creation, there are challenges and things that don’t work so well. The job of the creator is to keep working to overcome these challenges and push through the passages that don’t work so well.

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“Ocean Set” The finished ones can get a lot of likes too.

At the end, I hope that you will like the painting again, once I have solved and resolved the issues. But it is truly out of my hands at that point and I don’t work for “likes” but rather to send my creations into homes and workplaces of people for whom they bring joy.and with them, a piece of my spirit.

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BUYING ART-HOW TO CHOOSE

Deciding what to buy to be tricky business. While no one can tell exactly what piece of art is going to resonate with an individual so that they fall in love with it, just going out into the world of art without a plan can be totally overwhelming and paralyzing. So I am here to help you plan how to go about the search in three easy steps and find the perfect work of art.

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This painting fits the panel behind the chair perfectly! “Dream” in acrylic on paper.

1.  LOOK AT THE SPACE
Most of the time, people have in mind where they would like to place a new piece of artwork. It might be a space over sofa, in an office lobby, or in a small entry. It is key to look at how much space you have so that you will buy a piece of artwork that is in good proportion to the place where you’re going to hang it. If you have a wonderful painting that is too large for your space, it will look crowded and squeezed. By the same token, if you find a delicate, diminutive piece to put over your sofa, it will look lost and insignificant.

 

 

 

 

2.  DECIDE ON THE SUBJECT

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This depiction of an Italian village brought back memories, so close to the owner’s heart.

Some people know that they want to look up and see a road in the countryside in a landscape painting. Others love to see paintings of people. You may love the ambiguity of nonobjective abstracts that leave it to the viewer to decide what they are. As you search for your painting choice, having a sense of what you would like to see depicted will make your search easier.

 

 

 

 

 

3. STYLE…IT SETS THE MOOD

Many people have specific preferences as to what style or period of painting they prefer. If you love the old masters, something in oil paint with yellow and gray tones will be right up your alley. If you prefer modern lines and vivid colors, you will select a very different kind of art. More than anything, this will set the mood that your artwork will create. You needn’t worry about matching your interior decor. Mixing styles within the space will help enliven it, bring more interest into the room and attention to your beautiful new aquisition of art.

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Make a statement with a large abstract! “Cycle” acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.

Now you are ready to go out into the world of art buying with a plan of 1, 2,3! If you have any questions or comments about your art hunting, please put them in the comments below. Enjoy the hunt! You will see many beautiful things along the way and, I am certain, find just the piece or pieces that you will love for many years.

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MIXING MEDIA

I thought it might be useful to define some of the different media that you hear artists working with in their original artwork. I have worked with most of them at one time or another and so I have familiarity with themAcrylic-Paint.

The medium I’m working in right now is acrylic. Acrylic is a 20th century innovation, made of polymer medium, in which particles of pigment are suspended. This is just a fancy way of saying that it’s liquid plastic with color  in mixed in. When you have a painting  that is painted with acrylic, you have a very durable surface.

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One of my acrylic paintings

Acrylic paint adheres well to just about any surface that it is painted on. You may also have heard about mediums, like gel medium and gloss medium. They are colorless formulations of the liquid plastic that have different characteristics and viscosities.  acrylic-mediums-bannerThere is gel medium which is thick like cake frosting and it can be either gloss which is shiny, semi gloss or matte which is not shiny at all. Some of the mediums are thinner, more liquidy and others are completely solid, kind of a Crisco thickness. But they will dry clear and give different kinds textures to the surface.

Next is oil paint. Oil paint was used for centuries and most of the great classic paintings you see in museums were made with it. oil-painting-1128693_960_720 It has color pigments suspended in a linseed, natural oil base.

 

Forest hi res copy

 

 

 

 

 

With the oil paint one needs to use centers such as turpintine to clean it. Generally takes quite a long time to dry as opposed to acrylic which dries minutes. There is a special luster that comes from oil paint which is hard to reproduce.

 

 

Then we come to pastels which had been my medium of choice for a long time. In the art world when you refer to pastels, it generally means the dry, chalky type. However, they are not chalks. They are solid sticks of color. There is only a small amount of binder used to make the color solid and when you apply it to the painting surface, you get exactly the color you hold in your hand.

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TANNERY-MOROCCO is made with pastel.

 

Once the painting is done, the loose, dusty particles can be made more stable by spraying on fixative but when pastel paintings are handled or moved around a lot, frequently dust will loosen from the painting. That makes it very hard to ship to juried shows and that problem is what made me move on to acrylic. You may be more familiar with oil pastels that some artists use but are frequently used by children. These are similar to oil paint in their taking a very long time to dry.

 

 

 

 

 

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“What’s A Prince Without His Crown” 30″ x 22″, watercolor

 

Our next big category is watercolor. What are color paint comes in either tube or cake form and you use water to dilute it and make the paint liquid. When applied to paper it is transparent and so has a beautiful light contained within it.

 

There is also gouache which is a form of watercolor where the paint is opaque and you cannot see through it. This is frequently the medium of choice for designers. This paint has a matte, not shiny finish.

 

 

 

I hope this clarifies some of the differences the time to paint that artists use and that the next time you go to an art gallery you will find it easier to interpret the labels under the paintings.

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FINDING A FIGURE WITHIN

Being in Mississippi for Art Colony is an intense, stimulating,inspiring, hilarious, heart-warming, exhausting experience.  There is a tremendous power just being in a place where 40 or so accomplished artists gather to work individually but together. Each one works on their own projects but there is consultation and support and exploration-a synergy, if you will- unlike any you can ever find on your own. It’s a growth experience that you can’t get in the solitude of one’s own studio.

For me, it is an opportunity to paint larger than I usually do. This means wielding a canvas that is 5′ high and 4′ wide.  I feel a freedom for exploration and discovery that is hard to summon all by myself. Knowing that this is a unique opportunity, I decided to throw caution to the wind and committed myself to the best learning experience I could have.

I began the large painting with pouring and dripping paint onto the canvas while I tilted it in different directions to help the paint run. After several layers, I discerned a figure, wearing a hat, seated on a ball. In order to see it better, I used white to outline it.

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I consulted with our teacher/artist, Noah Saterstrom, who suggested I protect that image as I added more layers to the painting, so I covered it with blue painter’s tape.  I continued

 

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to add layers of paint to the canvas as well as shapes, blending and dripping as I went. While protecting the form of the figure, the tape created other problems. I think I was unconsciously pulled by the blue of the tape as the colors I added were all some shade of blue.  It also meant that the figure would be isolated from the rest of the picture and I would have to work to integrate it into the overall image. I soon removed the tape and began that process.

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This is where I’ve left it, just for the moment, as it continues to build. More in the next installment. What does it look like to you? What direction might you take it from here?

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Hot Miss

Here I am in Mississippi,  an unlikely place for a New Yorker, for the Spring session of Mississippi Art Colony. I am a fulfledged member, having been introduced to it by an artist friend who lives here.

I gather with 40 other artists to work together, share ideas, make art and consult with the artist teacher about our work. It’s a stimulating and fun 5 days and I always make some insteresting work and get inspired. Mississippi Art Colony boasts being the oldest in the country, although I know of no others.

We are housed at a sleep-away camp and like all camps, the food isn’t very good nor are the beds. But the experience is great! Here’s a look at the camp lake our first, foggy morning. It led to a very hot day.

I’ll keep you updated on my developments here!

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RED DOMINATES

I’m writing this with a red pen, which seems appropriate since this article is about the color REDRedPenProbably my favorite color, at least this week, I feel qualified on the subject as people are always talking to me about my colors. As a colorist, who has studied color in depth, I have become somewhat of an authority on color and by extension, on red.

 

From a technical standpoint, red is a primary color (along with yellow and blue), meaning that it cannot be made through the mixing other colors but rather can be used to mix an infinity of colors, including purple, orange, brown, magenta, lavender, etc. Considered a warm color because of its association with heat, red can generate a sense of warmth, embracing and calm. using-redOthers find it energizing, volatile, exciting and, at times, representative of anger. We say we are “in the pink” or “seeing red” with fury. So having red (or shades of) in your life can be a powerful thing.

This came up when I was sharing some new work at my artist group. A musician friend came up and said “I really love your red paintings; they make me feel so calm, I’d love to own one.” I was certainly pleased that she felt that way but was taken aback that she called it a red painting. Yes, it did have a lot of red elements but the background was all yellow and as well as some lavender. But there it was, a red painting – red dominates the space. 

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HOT ICE acrylic on cradled board, 10″ x 10″ $295 

What effect does RED have on you?

 

 

 

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Painting Intuitively

As I move more and more into non-objective abstraction, I use the phrase “painting intuitively” with increasing frequency. I have been thinking about it a lot lately as I am stuck on a painting that started out quite intuitively.

But if I take this literally, now that I am stuck & trying to make the painting work, I wonder, does that mean that my intuition has left me? As the painting began, I was open and free flowing, going with it where it seemed to want to go. I would stop and look and get inspired again and move the painting in that direction. It was delightful Spring colors which reflected my mood, even as we were experiencing wintry frosts. The pinks, peaches and blues were light and airy and the motion in the painting leading me dreamily.IMG_4970

Not yet there but a really solid start. Then I worked on it “intuitively” and really messed it up! I will have many hours of backtracking to get it to where I want to be. Did that mean that my intuition failed me? This is not the first time I have had to rework a painting.

A big part of painting is like figuring out a puzzle: we create problems for ourselves that we then have to solve. I have been a painter for a long time and often my intuition gets it right from the start. I think that a lot of my intuition comes from many years of practice and learning that leads me in the direction I want to go.

Most painting is intuitive within these parameters. No one told Da Vinci how to create shadows and fullness, nor Vermeer how to have light shining from his canvases. They and all painters learn and invent. Their education and practice taught them how to use their tools. But their invention is the sum of that and their intuition at play. It is the mix of their knowledge and creativeness that lets their intuition shine.

Here is one of my successful intuitive paintings. Sphere Of Influence, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, $2500.Version 3

What do you think? Would you like to exercise your creative intuition while honing skills to make your work successful? That’s just what we’ll be doing in the Creativity Blast Workshop. Click here to learn more.

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Going Buggy

The creative process can be a mystery. I frequently work intuitvely, letting my painting evolve to where my soul inspiration takes me. What allows me to source the imagery is part imagination and part my experience with art. Everyone has an imagination so I don’t need to teach that. So I teach things that will spark the imagination and provide skills that help bring imaginings to life.

It is hard to know where the paintings get their start so I decided to take you along on my process for the painting, Scarab.

I began by coating my canvas with iridescent media, giving the surface a sparkle, a first step to make a magical environment. I then sprayed water on the canvas and dropped in acrylic inks in blues, greens and a rusty red for contrast, that spread and moved through the droplets of water, creating interesting shapes.

Adding more color and spreading some to strengthen the color scheme, I started to see shapes that I wanted to draw out.IMG_1020

They started to take on the character of imaginary insects. I was having great fun with them but felt something was missing in the center and decided to add it.IMG_1022

You can see here where I first outlined the butterfly wing, knowing that the iridescent would evoke the butterfly. SCARAB

As I added more color and strengthened the shapes, Scarab, was complete!

 

Looking to expand your own creativity? Join me for the Creativity Blast Workshop! A great way to blast through the resistance and let your inner creativity blossom! Your creative soul is speaking to you to let it express. Let me be your guide as we explore your creative expression and gain techniques to bring it forth in beauty!

This workshop is for you when

  • img_3396you have wanted to make art but didn’t think you could
  • you are looking for an intuitive way to express yourself 
  • you’ve made art but feel blocked and don’t know how to get past it
  • want to create but don’t have the time or space
  • you want a caring guide to help you create beauty

    WE WILL USE  

    • paint on paper, board, canvas and in original art books.
    • explore different kinds of mixed media with an emphasis on acrylic paint and watercolor.
    • delve into creating textures you can see and feel.
    • create using collage, stamps, stencils and art transfers.
    • printmaking and learning the various techniques for printing without a printing press.

    Most materials will be supplied by the studio and you needn’t carry your materials back-and-forth with you each week.

Sign up now! Scrool to the bottom of the page, fill out the form and make your payment. The workshop begins April 11! For more info and to register, click here. Any questions, feel free to email me at karenart99@yahoo.com. See you soon!

 

 

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CREATIVITY BLAST WORKSHOP

CREATIVITY BLAST WORKSHOP

BLAST THROUGH THE RESISTANCE! IMG_4615

LET YOUR INNER CREATIVITY BLOSSOM!

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IMG_3395 (1)HAVE YOU FELT A TUG FROM DEEP INSIDE YOU TO FIND A WAY TO EXPRESS YOURSELF, TO GO DEEP, TO KNOW WHAT YOU CAN CREATE? YOU MAY HAVE BEEN TOO BUSY, UNSURE OR BLOCKED TO LET YOURSELF EXPRESS THE BEAUTY WITHIN YOU. PERHAPS YOU FEEL YOU DON’T HAVE THE SKILLS. YOU NEED AN ENCOURAGING ENVIRONMENT, A SPACE AND TIME TO LET YOUR EXPRESSION OF BEAUTY BLOSSOM.

A TEACHER WITH A CREATIVE SOUL

I’m an artist and a teacher who paints from the soul. My palette is the vibrancy of the world, the colors everywhere you look. I believe that each of us is a creative being, that we make things to express who we are. I know about doubting your ability, wondering if you can make something you like. I understand what it’s like to feel blocked, to need a way to get back to that elemental part of yourself. I help my students explore their creativity and their intuition. I’ll help you succeed by giving you tools and structure to get you started on your journey. Each class you will learn a new technique that will allow you to express yourself more distinctly than you could’ve imagined. This class is an exercise in IMG_1831freedom, exploration and freeing your inner creative self. While I provide a forum for this freedom and self-expression, I will also give you the skills and techniques that will help you bring forth the beauty within you in a way that is closer to your imaginings.

HOW YOU WILL LEARN

During the 9 weeks of the workshop, you will learn the elements of art– color,
form, shape, space, value, texture, line. During each class, there will be a IMG_3814group mini lesson, after which you will be invited to participate in the assignment, or if you prefer, you can develop your own work independently. Whichever path you choose, I will be there to guide you, to help you focus, to usher you to the next step in your creation. Your own expression, your art will not be dictated by the rigors of tight structure but rather works of art that have the benefit of both the skills you have learned and the depth of
your intuition.

THIS WORKSHOP IS FOR YOU WHEN

  • img_3396you have wanted to make art but didn’t think you could
  • you are looking for an intuitive way to express yourself 
  • you’ve made art but feel blocked and don’t know how to get past it
  • want to create but don’t have the time or space
  • you want a caring guide to help you create beauty

WE WILL USE  

  • IMG_1830paint on paper, board, canvas and in original art books. 
  • explore different kinds of mixed media with an emphasis on acrylic paint and watercolor. 
  • delve into creating textures you can see and feel. 
  • create using collage, stamps, stencils and art transfers. 
  • printmaking and learning the various techniques for printing without a printing press. 

Most materials will be supplied by the studio and you needn’t carry your materials back-and-forth with you each week.

 

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The small size of the class means that we can adapt to the wants and needs of the students, providing flexibility for beginners and experienced artists alike. Held in the Downstairs Studio in Prospect Park South, Brooklyn, the recent renovation provides a creative, nurturing and comfortable workspace.

So let with your inner creativity blast through! Have a blast bringing creativity into your life each week!

your teacher, Artist Karen Friedland

I’M YOUR INSTRUCTOR, HERE’S WHAT I DOWorld Beneath

Sisters

Pink

Intuit Orange

CREATIVITY BLAST WORKSHOP BEGINS WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13. 

IT WILL MEET WEDNESDAY EVENINGS, 7-9:30PM            

TUITION $375 FOR 9 SESSIONS

Early Bird Savings! Sign up by April 3rd and save $25!

Click here to go to the workshop page. Scroll to the bottom, fill out the form with your info and please share why you are taking the workshop. Pay with the “buy now” button. Looking forward to seeing you April 13!

 

 

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